A closer look at semi-automatic assault rifles & gun control

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:11:11 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 16 2013 11:04:03 PM CST
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Many gun owners are outraged by President Barack Obama's proposal to ban future sales of semi-automatic assault rifles.

Those against the idea point to the fact that there are already millions of them in the hands of U.S. citizens. They question whether banning future sales would even make an impact.

Brian Smith, a gunsmith in La Crosse, says those who support banning semi-automatic assault rifles have no idea how people actually use them.

He showed News 8 several of his firearms, all of which would no longer be available for purchase under a ban, to highlight that each has a legitimate use.

"This is actually a coyote hunting gun. This is a long-range varmint type rifle and this is a my 3-gun rifle for shooting 3-gun type competitions," said Smith, pointing to three different weapons.

The owner of Smith Guns, 1017 13th Street S., believes gun control infringes on people's 2nd Amendment right and has little impact on public safety.

"You can not legislate evil and no matter what we do, the cat is out of the bag," he said.

Those in favor of stronger gun laws disagree.

"Today is a momentous day," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence during a news conference Wednesday in front of the White House.

Gross says measures are needed to curb gun violence in the country.

"There's an extraordinary disconnect between what the American public wants, including gun owners and NRA members, and what our elected officials are doing about it," he said.

"As a law abiding citizen, what does it matter if I have a 30-round magazine or not?" said Smith.

The National Rifle Association says it will fight stricter gun laws. The organization's members, like Brian Smith, are warning all gun owners to be on alert.

"Your hunting rifles could be in jeopardy. To say that there's no sporting purpose for a semi-automatic rifle is just ridiculous," said Smith.